Death Doulas: What are they and how to find one

A death doula is someone who gives support and guidance to people who are dying. They also provide emotional and practical support to their loved ones. 

Death doulas can offer a wide range of services, from helping to plan a meaningful death to providing practical advice on dealing with the aftermath. While death is inevitably a difficult experience, death doulas can help to make it more bearable. In doing so, they provide an invaluable service to both the dying and the grieving.

Death doulas can also be referred to as: End of Life Doula , Death Midwife, Transition Guide and Soul Midwife. If you see someone referred to as one of those names, they are a death doula.

How much do they cost? 

Death doulas charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $50 to $200 per hour. However, the cost of a death doula depends on a variety of factors, including the services provided and the geographical location. Some death doulas also offer package rates that can save you money in the long run. 

TIP: Money tight? Ask for a sliding scale, or check with your local hospice center and see if they have volunteers.

What is the difference between a Death Doula and a Hospice Nurse? 

While death doulas and hospice nurses both provide support to the dying and their families, they play different roles. Death doulas focus on providing practical and emotional support, while hospice nurses provide both medical care and emotional support.

Death doulas do not provide any medical care and do not give medical advice.

What can you expect from a Death Doula?

A death doula is a professional who provides support to people who are dying, and they offer practical and emotional support to both the dying person and their loved ones. Death doulas can help with things like:

–Making arrangements

–Provide emotional support 

–Helping to create a meaningful death experience 

–Offer guidance on matters such as advance care planning and end-of-life decision-making.

Death doulas can be an invaluable source of support at a time when it is needed most.

How to become a death doula? 

If you’re interested in becoming a death doula, there are a few things you’ll need to do.

  1. First, you’ll need to complete a training program. There are many death doula training programs available, and you can find one that’s right for you by doing some research online. There is no national certification process, so you will be responsible for vetting the training program on your own. 
  2. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll need to locate an organization or business that is looking for death doulas. You can often find these organizations by contacting your local hospice or searching for death doula services online. 

You can also start your own business. Death doulas can work side by side with grief counselors, clergymen (and women), and funeral homes.

Should you hire a death doula? 

This is a very personal decision. Death doulas may not be right for every situation, and sometimes they aren’t necessary. Below are some reasons that you may want to consider before beginning the death doula interview process.

Death doulas are trained in end-of-life care, and they often work with hospices or other organizations that provide support for the terminally ill. In recent years, death doulas have become increasingly popular as more people seek out ways to plan for and manage their own death. 

Reasons not to hire a death doula:

–Personal funds are limited.

–You have a solid support system already. Family, clergy, and hospice care are often enough.

–You don’t want a lot of people around. 

–You don’t want one. Honor your personal wishes and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself!

Reasons to hire a death doula:

–You don’t have a lot of support, or the support that you have doesn’t agree with your wishes.

–You don’t want your family to have to deal with the logistical side of death.

–You want, or need, additional support.

Death doulas can support you in ways that close loved ones often can’t. They can hold space for any emotion that you may be feeling; you can scream, cry, or laugh. 

Having someone available to help that you are not responsible for can ease the dying process. 

How to find a Death Doula?

If you are interested in hiring a death doula, the best place to start is by asking your doctor or hospice care provider for referrals. You can also search online for death doula services in your area. There are many programs that train Death Doulas and have a directory of graduates, here are a few places to start your online search:

If you are interested in a Death Doula, interview as many as you can to make sure that you find the right fit. And then rest, knowing that you, and your family, are in good hands.